Jerry and Phoebe Levine, the founders of the Bridgton 4 on the 4th Road Race, started running for exercise in 1975 and conducted the first four-mile race in December 1977 from their farmhouse on Chadbourne Road. Twenty-eight runners ran this race and finished with hot cider in the Levine’s kitchen. By 1982, the race had grown to several hundred runners, and the Levines moved away from Bridgton. Loraine and Jay Spenciner became the Race Directors and directed the race through 2002 when it was turned over to David Fadden. In 2004, the current Race Committee assumed direction of the race. The Race Committee members are all volunteers, as are the approximately 100 other people who make the race possible.
Originally run on Chadbourne and Upper Ridge Roads, the race was first moved to begin at the Bridgton Highlands Golf Course and end at Highland Lake, but because of increasing numbers and the difficulty of transporting runners to the start line at the golf course, the racecourse was changed in the 1980s to begin and end in the downtown area and certified by the USATF (USA Track & Field).
From the beginning, proceeds of the race have benefited the Bridgton Public Library. Current 4 on the Fourth Corporation by-laws require 90% of the proceeds of the race to go to the Bridgton Public Library with the remaining 10% available to be disbursed either to the Library or to other deserving charitable organizations. In 2019, the race distributed $32,500 of which $31,000 went to the Library.
The race continues to attract a growing and faithful group of runners – now approaching 2100 runners, the course limit – from more than 35 states and numerous foreign countries. In 2001, New England Runner magazine named the race New England’s top race. In 2010, the race was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
In 2016, a Kids Fun Run/Walk was added to the race agenda for the first time. This race is held on July 3rd at 4:30 PM in the rear of Stevens Brook Elementary School and is for children ages 3 – 10. Participants can choose from three distances – ¼ mile, ½ mile or 1 mile. Parents can accompany their children during this race/walk.
|Race Director:||Bill Graham|
|Registration Coordinator:||Jim Cossey|
|Race Consultant:||Charles Scribner|
|Chief Road Marshal:||Chuck Wilcoxen|
|Camp Coordinator:||Scott Bleakney|
|Volunteer Coordinators:||Diane Stillman|
|Kids Fun Run/Walk:||Alice Gold|
From the beginning of the race and each year since the Bridgton 4 on the Fourth Road Race has supported the Bridgton Public Library. At least 90% of the race proceeds are donated to the Library each year. These proceeds have allowed the library to provide additional services, programs and resources for the community, including free computer/internet use, wi-fi internet access, regular children’s craft and activity programs, upgraded collections and special guest performers, and entertainers. The Library website is: www.bridgton.lib.me.us
Additionally, proceeds from the race have benefited the following charities and public service organizations:
- Bridgton Community Center
- Bridgton Hospital Oncology Clinic
- Bridgton Recreation Advancement Group
- Christmas Angel Program
- Hurricane Katrina Library Relief
- Lakes Environmental Association
- Lakes Region Senior Transportation Program
- Project WARM/Fuel Assistance Program
- Shawnee Peak’s Adaptive Ski Program
- Pondicherry Park
- Stevens Brook Elementary School Reading Boost Program
- Rufus Porter Museum
- Lakes Region Substance Abuse Coalition
- Special Olympics
- Bridgton High School Scholarship Foundation